It started as a part-time job at Westphalia Inn, something to make a little money while going to school at Fatima.
But then, Theresa Wildhaber added a little design and color to the front door of the restaurant, where she is employed in food preparation, and things started to roll.
On Aug. 20, Wildhaber will leave for Truman State University, where she will major in both English and Visual Communication, with several pieces of art to her credit, including the label on the latest offering from Westphalia Vineyards.
Westphalia Inn owner Mary Neuner and her husband, Terry Neuner, who owns Westphalia Vineyards, solicited artwork from several professional artists as well as Wildhaber, and selected the Fatima graduate's offering.
"She got the concept," said Terry Neuner. "She understood what we wanted to portray and really did a great job."
Wildhaber explained that Terry Neuner wanted a "James Bond feel and a lady in a red dress," and she went to work.
The chocolate wine, called Naughty But Nice, was originally labeled Naughty Norton but federal guidelines did not allow that name. It was hoped to have this wine roll out in time for Valentine's Day but because of the name, it took a little longer and went to market last month.
The Neuners tested 26 varieties of the dry dessert wine, which includes pure chocolate and uses the Norton grape. The final selection features Wildhaber's label, which shows the idea Terry Neuner had.
"It's a lady whispering sweet nothings in her man's ear," he said. "A lot of people can draw. Theresa has insight. That's the difference."
Wildhaber took art classes at Fatima with teacher Sonya Walker, but doesn't consider herself to be extraordinary, despite graduating as co-valedictorian.
"I have no plans to become Michaelangelo, but it's a way for me to express myself," said Wildhaber. She created the label using graphic art software on her computer, but that's just one outlet for her talent.
Wildhaber also created a water-color painting of Westphalia Inn and presented it to the Neuners as a Christmas gift.
"We really appreciate the things she's done for us," said Mary Neuner. "She has done a lot of things without us asking."
In recognition of Wildhaber's creation of the label, Terry Neuner presented her a check for $200.
Wildhaber said she is grateful for the support and encouragement shown to her by the Neuners.
"She has really blossomed as a person and we're going to miss her terribly," Mary Neuner said.
Neal A. Johnson
Editor (News & Sports)
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